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Let's go over the New Medicare Card for 2018 that is coming out and replacing the one that we've had forever.
The New Medicare card
Q: “Medicare has made some major changes in the new Medicare card. Let’s go over what you need to know.”
This was supposed to be Alicia’s presentation, but she has no voice, so I’ll do my best but she learned a whole lot at that PAHCOM conference, so hopefully I’ll be able to do as good a job as she would have.
A: Medicare has made some major changes in the new Medicare card. Let’s go over what you need to know. This is a brief overview; I strongly recommend that you go to the CMS.gov website to really learn about it. Why is the card changing? The most important reason it’s changing is its fighting medical identity theft for people in Medicare.
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, requires the removal of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions like billing, eligibility status and claim status. So, it really comes down to identity theft, and I was wondering when they were going to come around to doing it since everybody else has been doing it.
CMS currently uses a SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) to identify people with Medicare and administer the program. They have used the HICN with their business partners’ social security administration (SSA), the United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), State Medicaid Agencies, health care providers and health plans.
Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, CMS will: assign a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), they will be mailing a new Medicare card, and the MBI is confidential like the SSN should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.
Now, when you look at your current Medicare card, you’ll see the Primary Beneficiary Account Holder Social Security Number (SSN) plus the Beneficiary Identification Code (BIC), so basically it’s the social security number with a letter after it. The key positions is 1-9 are numeric, and then you have one letter or a letter and a number, and so forth.
The example here would be the 123-45-6789-A – Primary Beneficiary HICN. Let’s say that you’re a spouse who didn’t work, you would use your husband’s social security number, 123-45-6789-B to identify. If you were working and you would have your own number, but there are so many letters, it could be like for dependence and for disabled or just multiple letters at the end. But the new MBI has new non-intelligent unique identifier, 11 bytes.
Coach Laureen: [Laughs] Wait, our government having something non-intelligent? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Coach Jo-Anne: But the key positions are 2, 5, 8 and 9 will always be alphabetic. So, if you look down at this example, we look at the way our social security number is now and it’s like the 123-45-6789. In this case, it’s A1. Then, the new MBI, 1E is the second position and then this 1EG4 is just very different looking; very, very different looking. This identifiers are fictitious and dashes for display purposes only, they are not stored in the database nor used in file formats. But that’s the difference.
It’s going to be so hard to really… I’m so spoiled having the social security number. It’s going to be hard because a lot of times you don’t get good information from the front desk, so you always had the Medicare number. If it ended in an A, you know that was the social and so forth. But there is a very definite timeline, January 2018 will be activating the MBI Generator & Translation Services. Then, from April 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 we will transition. During this transitional period you can use either the old number or the new number. January 2020, only the MBIs on claims will be accepted with few exceptions.
Coach Laureen: That’s a long transition period.
Coach Jo-Anne: I’m grateful because I can just imagine. This is a visual timeline that Alicia presented where it just shows you the January 18th and then the block of time where they’ll accept both the HICN and the MBI and then the January 2020 where you can no longer use it except for some limited exceptions and I’ve listed those.